There was time Bill Gates many years ago said that 640K of memory for the latest IBM PC’s that came out would be enough than you would ever need or something to that effect. 640K of memory! At my company which isn’t at the front line of keeping up with technology they now order laptops/desktops with minimum 8 GB of ram. Basically 8 GB of ram because alot of people with running so many applications like Microsoft Excel need more than 4 GB of ram.
If you go back super far in the days of the first apple pc’s it’s working memory was like something 64K. That was like a 8 bit computer and I was too little at the time to even know what a bit in a computer did anyways. Now being in the computer industry most of my adult life my own personal computer have to have at least 16 GB of memory. What a difference we have gone through from the days of Bill Gates thinking with a jump in RAM to 640K that you would never need more memory in a pc than that!
You see the RAM in your computer is the working memory of the pc. Stuff is put into the pc’s working memory and swapped out with other pieces of information at a crazy rate. Our brains too have a working memory type of setup also which I’ve read about. How much can we hold into our own working memory while learning another language. I know while listening and talking korean my working memory seems to be not like that 640K that impressed Bill gates in the 80’s but rather like the Apple II.
Because I usually have ‘korean only’ class on friday nights its a fun way to end the work week. I say a word…get it wrong and continue the sentence and then a couple of seconds later the teacher is saying the sentence back to me and I’m like is that because she’s correcting me? What did I say? Then I’m like oh I did say it wrong but alot of times I can’t even remember exactly what I just said or said wrong. Yes not remember. Did I say a word wrong? What did I do wrong? Can you repeat that please is something I say lot but I do say it in korean at least.
This limited working memory condition is something I encounter alot while listening to a sentence and forgetting by the time the teacher gets to the end of the sentence what the first part of the sentence was! Yes alot. Your focus is like that small 1 cm of window with your attention and as it is moved through a whole line of korean while you are listening I notice I forget alot of the content of what was said. Yes it could be that I didn’t understand a part of the sentence or word or something but your working memory when learning another language is very small. At least for me. I notice it so much more with working with teachers on italki.com because in self-study I would either read something alot over and over or listen to something a number of times but when you have a real life person talking to you in another language your both ON and attention focused but at the same time working with the same amount of memory as that 8 bit pc that could display graphic’s at best that looked like the one below.
I need to get out of the K’s for memory and into the GB’s!